Make Your Site Faster With Google Page Speed Online

A decade ago, 100KB was considered to be the absolute maximum total file size for a single web page. Today, developers rarely adhere to any limits thanks to the availability of high-speed broadband. However, there are several reasons why you should still worry about every byte:

  1. Visitor perception. Slow sites are annoying and reduce sales conversions. Will clients trust your technology services when your own site is sluggish?
  2. The mobile web. Web access from mobile phones and tablets is growing exponentially. These devices typically have slower connectivity and client-side rendering.
  3. Audience factors. The number of active web users has plateaued in the west but Africa and Asia are growing rapidly. Some locations may not receive fast broadband for many years — if ever.
  4. SEO. Google analyzes your page speed and may penalize your site if it’s slower than a competitor’s.

Fortunately, there are a number of browser extensions which can help you identify technical bottlenecks. The most well-known are Yahoo’s YSlow for Firefox/Firebug and Google’s Page Speed for Firefox/Firebug and Chrome. The choices are more limited if you’re using IE, Opera or Safari and the plug-ins may not be practical if you’re working away from your PC.

Therefore, Google has recently released Page Speed Online — an experimental tool which provides a list of helpful tips which could improve your website performance. Enter a URL and you’ll be shown a list of high, medium and low priority suggestions:

Google Page Speed Online

Behind the scenes, the tool uses a webkit-based renderer to download and parse the HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images and other resources in the same way a real browser would. The results are analyzed using the reporting tool found in the Page Speed browser extension and presented online.

As well as a “desktop browser” mode, Page Speed Online can also make suggestions for mobile devices. In practice, you’re likely to see a similar set of suggestions but some may be re-prioritized accordingly.

The only disadvantage is that the online tool cannot access pages on private intranets or those which require a login. The browser extensions must still be used in those situations.

Overall, Page Speed Online is a great tool for quick testing. There’s no need to install a clunky browser extension so you have few excuses — test your site today.

Has Page Speed Online helped you solve major issues within your pages?